One in a Crowd: The Prequels Strike Back

Before Disney's Star Wars, is it time to reappraise Jar Jar?

There's no easier target in cinema than the Star Wars prequels. But new documentary The Prequels Strike Back could prove that the critics have missed the point.

It's a big year for Star Wars fans. Disney will unleash the first of its new entries in the series, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, while Patrick Reid Johnson's long gestating auto-bio of his life in Star Wars, 5-25-77, is scheduled to finally escape the tractor beam of development hell. But whatever happens, there will still be people griping about the prequel trilogy.

As documentarian and film historian Bradley Weatherholt explains their impact, "Some people dismiss them, some people despise them, and some people staunchly defend them. Point is, everyone has an opinion."

Along with cinematographer/producer Kyle Brodeur and graphic artist Matthew Fielder, Weatherholt forms the Ministry of Cinema. The local production house creates its own short dramas, but has specialized in explaining the story of the movies, like their four part history of genre, and their timeline of cinema.

They plan to bring that analysis to what is called the Star Wars ring theory: That George Lucas wove references and themes into the full sextet that raise it above the run of the mill franchise. The evidence is there. Lucas, an art house director inspired by seminal cultural anthropology tome Hero with a Thousand Faces, placed call-backs, hints, visual motifs and echoes throughout the films. From the opening shots always being in space, to the retelling of the Uther and Arthur myth through Anakin and Luke Skywalker, and hidden levels of Daoism. And isn't Jar Jar Binks the ultimate holy fool?

Looking at this as one unified narrative, Weatherholt argues "perhaps even the most critical fans can return to the saga."

Their crowdfunding campaign has already become a runaway success, raising over $5,000 of a $3,5000 goal in less than 10 days, with 51 more to go. This means the original plan for a short documentary has already passed its stretch goal, bypassed the blockade of the doc series goal, and is at lightspeed towards the $7,500 to make a full length documentary.

You can help support the movie via their Kickstarter page, and follow the production at the Ministry of Cinema Facebook page.


One in a Crowd is a series intended to showcase Texas film and tech projects that are crowdfunding their way to a goal, be it distribution, a prototype, or production costs. If you have a project that we should know about, email us at filmflam@austinchronicle.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

One in a Crowd, crowdfunding, Kickstart Your Weekend, Kickstarter, Star Wars, Ministry of Cinema, George Lucas, Disney, Star Wars Ring Theory, The Prequels Strike Back

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